Nathan Cullen spoke at the 2018 DFO post season review on Dec. 7. (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Grim situation in coming year for northwest, B.C. fisheries

Annual post-season review in Prince Rupert informs DFO on how to manage 2019 fishing season

This year was tough for fishermen in northwest B.C., and while the stewards of the fishing industry hope that 2019 will bring improvements, they understand there are still many challenges to overcome.

“We’re hopeful that we won’t necessarily see the same kind of crisis-like conditions as this year, but we’re still looking at a grim situation for the coming year,” said Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) North Coast area director Colin Masson. “It might not be as bad as last year, but it’s still going to be difficult and these discussions are really important for moving forward.”

Masson presented at DFO’s annual post-season review on Dec. 6 and 7. The review is a gathering of all parties with a stake or interest in how key decisions were made regarding fish stock in the northwest over the past year.

Indigenous groups, technical committees from the Skeena Fishing Commission and commercial and recreational fishing representatives were all present at the review and had opportunities to ask questions about the 2018 season.

Masson said the sweeping fishing closures in the northwest were the primary topic of conversation over the review’s two days, and he received feedback on the topic. The feedback from these discussion will be compiled to help contribute to the planning process for 2019.

Nathan Cullen, MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley was present for the second day of the review. He said he had heard a lot of the same things from people in attendance, and felt there was a general understanding of the situation and a willingness to make the sacrifices necessary to improve it.

READ MORE: Salmon closures a devastating blow to North Coast business

“We need to restore abundance,” he said. “We need to get back to a place where we’re not fighting over a couple hundred fish here and there.”

Cullen said achieving that abundance would take a long, stable and committed effort as well as providing DFO with the resources to properly manage the fisheries.

“We need in-season, real time assessment of what’s happening in the fishery so that decisions are made quicker and more accurately,” he said, adding that when this capacity is not present, costly mistakes can be made.

Cullen also said that the industry’s next generation of fishermen face more barriers than their predecessors. Citing owner-operator licences as an example, Cullen said changes could be made in policy that would help to level the playing field.

“If you own a fishing licence, you should fish the fishing licence. That’s the reality on the East Coast, but DFO doesn’t have that policy on the West Coast,” he said. “That’s the thing, returning the benefits back to the communities who are the stewards of this resource.”

READ MORE: DFO contemplating sweeping North Coast salmon fishery closure



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Smithers only taxi company closing down

BV Taxi parking its cars at the end of January

Coastal GasLink repeats desire for meeting with hereditary chiefs

Coastal GasLink says they’re ready to meet with the hereditary chiefs at their convenience

B.C. Green Party interim leader to visit Wet’suwet’en camps

MLA Adam Olsen stands behind First Nations

Bulkley Valley biathletes add to World Masters medal count

Callie Lancaster and Lèa-Marie Bowes-Lyon combine with Squamish’s Yvette Jackson for Relay bronze

Complaints filed against RCMP following two Gidimt’en members being turned away at police checkpoint

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association helped two individuals file the complaints

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Terrace woman found not criminally responsible in mother’s murder

RCMP were called to a townhouse on Scott Ave. on Aug. 2, 2018, following two stabbings

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky B.C. ferry sailing

The Nimpkish docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

B.C. pair ordered to pay $55,000 for oil tank discovered four years after selling home

Judge says defendants breached contract, despite being unaware of tank until basement flooded

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Most Read